This month, Kozo at EverydayGurus challenged us to post about forgiveness. Publish a post that exemplifies the power of forgiveness. As long as you are dealing with any aspect of forgiveness in your post, you are meeting the challenge–even if your post is why you find it hard to forgive.
So not my favorite subject but this is where I am.
TEA PARTY FOR MY DEMONS
“This Ain’t No Place For Sissies” That’s what the sign says above my fireplace.
This is where I hold my tea parties. They are small affairs, just a few demons still unforgiven and me, oh and my dog that usually sleeps through the whole thing after she’s had a cookie.
I set three places, one for the monster, one for the me I used to be and one for the me I am now. I use my best china. It’s simple really we play what was. We cry. We forgive each other. I hate that part. For years I refused to participate. I had forgiven them all as soon as whatever they did happened. Why should I forgive them again? It seems if you don’t they still own a piece of you. Horrified with that concept I dredged up every demon I could remember, gave them a blanket forgiveness ticket and got my piece back.
Simple right? Fair trade, I forgive you give me back my piece and beat it, but they came back again and again. It seemed a blanket forgiveness policy wasn’t going to work. Each transgression had to be addressed and forgiven, and each piece retrieved. Some people are so full of everyone else’s pieces it’s amazing they have room for themselves.
Okay, finished right? I started refusing amnesty to those who popped into my head begging for it. No, scram I’d say, I’ve already forgiven you I’m not going to do it again. Then I would tell them that the only one I have to forgive is me, for allowing that to occur and I began a campaign of forgiving myself every time a memory of the bad stuff came back.
The me I was then is also one I have to be wary of slipping back into again. She was brave but afraid, lost and lonely a lot of the time. She was like an orphan who only wanted a family but couldn’t figure out how to get one. Sometimes I make tea for just the two of us. I wish I could have done that for her then. I wish I would have known all of this then.
If you continue to hold out on forgiveness a part of you may have decided to let them suffer, and may be relishing in their suffering. I must say I liked that idea and a part of me is very satisfied with that image, but there is that piece of you they own and are most likely dangling it out in front of them like the carrot of whatever your heart’s desire was that they would never grant when you were with them. You need to retrieve it. No matter how good it would feel to tell them where they could put it. Give them forgiveness and get your piece back.
Forgiving them doesn’t mean that you have to approve of their behavior, and it is appropriate to tell them so. This is not done in person, face to face. This is not done in a phone call. This is not even done in writing on stationary or in an email. You don’t have to have any contact with them physically at all. In fact you shouldn’t. Your words, your intention will travel directly through that tiny string that still connects you to the piece of you they are holding and it will be felt. This is also why you need your piece back. There will no longer be a connection. Some of those strings are as large and strong as ropes. They will connect you to the person and the transgression forever and keep you connected each time you are here, lifetime after lifetime. If you believe in that, and I must say I do.
You may want to turn the other cheek and give them another chance. Everyone deserves another chance, right? It could have been a mistake. Mistakes happen. If they do it again it was no mistake. Sever the relationship immediately. Get your pieces back and take some time to examine what you are putting out there. Ask yourself what you really want in your life before you plunge into the deep end of the relationship pool again. Put up some boundaries, write them down, make a map of them, and honor them.
Okay, you better sit down for this one. Ready? You are the monster at someone else’s tea party. I know it’s hard to believe, sainted and wronged as we have been, that we could have done anything to hurt someone else. You will need to apologize to these people. You know who they are and what you did. Give them back their piece and ask them to relinquish yours.
This may sound flippant. It isn’t. It comes from years of terribly hard self examination, an unbelievable amount of gut wrenching sobs, wrestling with injustice, trash bags full of confetti (formerly photos) and living without the people you loved so dearly. Betrayal is a soul injury. It takes a long time to make peace with it. Forgiveness isn’t a magic word.
If they appeared before me in person I know my heart would be full of love for them and brimming over with forgiveness. If they were in my life again they would pull the same crap over and over.
As my grandma would say, it’s a great old world, but it’s sure no place for sissies.